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Year-old college which opened after merger could join forces with another - have your say

Stuart Rimmer, principal at East Coast College, and David Gartland, Lowestoft Sixth Form College principal. Picture: Four Agency

Stuart Rimmer, principal at East Coast College, and David Gartland, Lowestoft Sixth Form College principal. Picture: Four Agency

Archant

A college which opened last year as the result of a merger could join forces with another local institution.

Lowestoft Sixth Form College (LSFC) has launched a public consultation seeking the community’s views on a proposed merger with East Coast College (ECC).

ECC opened in August last year after Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Colleges merged, and today has a campus in each town.

As part of a government review into post-16 education around the country, it is proposed that ECC and LSFC - which together educate more than 5,000 students - would merge on August 1 this year.

A consultation has been launched today, inviting parents, students, staff, local employers and the community to have their say.

David Gartland, principal at LSFC, which opened in 2011, said it was about creating a “one stop shop” for young people leaving school.

“By becoming one institution while at the same time retaining the autonomy and excellence of LSFC, we want to work together to become an even stronger educational force in the region,” he said.

MORE: Celebration marks the official merger of two well-known colleges

He said the college was the top-performing sixth form college in England for student progress in A-levels, and had a 100pc A-level and BTEC Diploma pass rate.

It comes as part of a national move towards mergers, with economies of scale easing strained budgets in the further education sector.

Consultation papers say the new organisation would have a combined annual turnover of roughly £23m, and would create a “resilient organisation that is financially sustainable”.

Stuart Rimmer, principal at ECC, said he was “very excited” about the proposal.

“Both institutions have a strong reputation and it is our aim to maintain, develop and celebrate their individual strengths and specialisms following the merger. After completion, we strongly believe the wider choice of courses and increased progression routes available will provide even more opportunities for young people to achieve their individual aspirations in East Norfolk and North Suffolk.”

The consultation paper can be viewed here and replies are needed by midnight on Friday, May 4, with a summary of responses due to be published in July.

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